Most security recommendations focus on ways to protect your end users data, resources, and network traffic, but the network management process itself can quickly become an avenue for an attacker to gain a foothold on your network if it is not handled properly. Improper use of administrative tools can introduce security vulnerabilities just as easily as user behavior ”perhaps even more easily, since the very nature of the administrator is that he or she can perform high-level tasks that, when done improperly, can have catastrophic effects on the stability of a network or server. To address this topic, we begin this chapter with a discussion of ways to secure the administrative process. As with most security measures, this effort consists of both technical measures to secure the use of specific administrative utilities (such as Telnet, Remote Desktop, and Emergency Management Services) and human measures to institute security policies concerning the way a network should and should not be administered.
Once we ve discussed the necessary steps in securing the administrative process, we ll look at two common tasks for security administrators: creating a patch management strategy and designing trust relationships for large-scale networks. Although Windows Server 2003 includes major improvements in the security of Microsoft operating systems, the need to apply security updates to computers in an enterprise network is an inescapable reality. To address this need, Microsoft has made many tools and utilities freely available to network administrators, such as the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) and the Software Update Service (SUS). Understanding how to implement these tools will greatly improve the overall security process when you re designing and implementing a secure Windows Server 2003 network.
We ll wrap up this chapter with a look at the domain and forest trust model in Windows Server 2003. The notion of trusts goes back as far as the introduction of Windows NT, but the more recent server operating systems have made many more options available for administrators to grant access across an enterprise without sacrificing security or ease of administration. The trust process itself should be familiar to you from your studies for the MCSE 2003 Core Four Exams, so we ll focus on how to design the domain and forest to provide the best possible security in a number of scenarios, including enterprises that are supporting down-level or non-Microsoft clients and services.